2014, The Year in Review

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Winter weather was a major news story of early 2014, as several winter storms roared through the region leaving ice, snow and single-digit temperatures. This led to a number of "snow days" for local students, as rural roads became impassable.

As is the way of life, 2014 was a year filled with a plethora of highs and lows, wins and losses and joys and sorrows. The past year has seen the rise of new leaders, the loss of old friends and an announcement which has the potential to be of great financial significance to many residents in the years to come. The local communities have come together to celebrate the accomplishments of its children, work together to reach important goals and, of course, have a little fun in the process.

So many are the memories shared by everyone, spirit-lifting and heart-rending alike, that to narrow down to just a few would be an impossible task. The following is a monthly listing of some of the moments which stood out in 2014:

January

Donations from Piggott State Bank help lead to the creation of the WatchD.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program at Piggott Elementary School. The program focuses on education and safety, through the efforts of fathers and father figures as volunteers...Queen Breanna Chandler and Basketball Beau Will Jett lead the PHS basketball homecoming royalty...Glen Sain GMC in Rector welcomes special guest Jep Robertson of the television show Duck Dynasty. Glen Sain owner Danny Ford and family are good friends with the entire Robertson family, and provided Jep with a custom pick-up featuring Duck Commander graphics...Louis Lin, Maggie Williams and Avery Little are the top spellers in the Piggott Schools Spelling Bee. Winners in the Rector Schools Spelling Bee are Jarek Ellis, Sarah Willis and Sydney Wofford. The students, along with those from Corning, take part in the Clay County Spelling Bee, with Lin, Williams and Little finishing as the top three, respectively, Lin would go on to finish seventh in the Arkansas Spelling Bee in Little Rock...The Rector Police Department and the Piggott Fire Department receive grant funds for the purchase of new equipment as part of the state's General Improvement Fund...The Clay County Prevention Coalition meets at the Rector Community Center to evaluate a study regarding the use of alcohol and tobacco among high school students and consider efforts to limit the use of harmful substances among Clay County's youth...Hundreds of residents take part in a mass flu clinic held by the Clay County Health Unit at the Piggott gymnasium during the Piggott-Corning basketball game...County officials discuss plans with a representative of Peco Foods which will see the construction of a large chicken housing plant in Corning. The site itself is expected to employ more than 50 employees; with additional benefits likely for area crop and chicken farmers once the project is completed in late 2015...Mae Wesley celebrates her 100th birthday with family and friends...Tanner Murray of Piggott, who joined the team as a walk-on, earns a roster spot as a catcher with the ASU Red Wolves baseball team...Queen Kylee Beshears and King Alec Scott are among the royalty celebrated at the RHS basketball homecoming festivities...Several Clay County cities, including Rector, Piggott and Corning, receive GIF grants for ongoing city projects...RES continues its support of the Arkansas Rice Depot's Food For Kids program through fundraisers to help the program in its efforts to provide food to children in need throughout the state...PHS band members Madison Martin, Chris Book, Michelle Haley, Haylee Samples, Sarah Wikowsky, Hayden Sample, Megan Johnson, Caleb Benbrook and Connor Boyster are selected as All-Region Band members.

February

The area is covered with ice and snow during a winter storm, resulting in local school closings and travel delays...Senior centers in Rector, Piggott and Corning receive grants through state GIF monies...The Piggott and Rector High School Future Farmers of America chapters celebrate National FFA Week...Volunteers in Rector brave cold temperatures and constant rain to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation through the annual Have-A-Heart Wish-A-Thon. The Rector group raises over $7,000...David Cagle, Tim Holland Farren Young win the second annual Rector Community Center Chili Cook-Off...PHS student Mason Henry finished 46 out of 250 in the Tulsa Welding Competition, earning the second highest finish by an Arkansas student...RHS and PHS basketball, cheerleading and band students are honored at the schools' respective Senior Night ceremonies...Larry Massey retires from the City of Piggott after 30 years of service. He began in the street department and eventually transferred to the electric department. The city honored Massey with a special reception...Firefighters from all across Clay County take part in a Search and Rescue class held at the Piggott Fire Department...Shawn-Hudson and Emilee Seegraves take part in numerous tennis tournaments, moving up the state rankings...Young artists from all three Clay County schools take part in an art show sponsored by the Clay County Arts Council. A total of 83 students display their works at the Rector Community Center, and the CCAC provides grants to the schools' art departments...The Cougars and Lady Cougars reach the regional basketball tournament at Pangburn. Unfortunately, both teams are defeated in the first round, bringing their exciting seasons to an end...More than 300 athletes take part in the Area One Special Olympics Basketball Skills Competition at Piggott High School. The annual event has become one of the top Special Olympics competitions in the region...PES sixth graders complete the HPMEC Young Authors program...John Watson of Piggott is recognized as a 60-year member of the American Legion.

March

Winter Storm Titan dumps several inches of snow and ice on the region. There are isolated power outages locally, but thousands are left without electricity for days across the state...the 12th annual RHS FFA Dinner and Auction draws a large crowd to the community center for an evening of fun in support of the popular program...David Gregory is named to the Piggott Health Care Facilities Board...Isabella Boyd and Ford Mills and crowned Little Miss and Mr. RHS...James and Renee Haywood of Piggott celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary...PHS basketball players Kayce Crossfield, Austin Murray and Will Jett are named All-Conference selections...RHS basketball players Anna Blackshare, Kristen Smart, Kendal Gunn, Bailey Haney, Bekah Scott, Adam Dinkins, Alec Scott and Reed Weber are named All-Conference players. Gunn and Weber are also named All-State selections...Crowds gather for the annual PES Health, Safety and Science fair...PHS students take part in the annual Career Day event which brings professional and academic representatives to the campus...Rector native Bo Gamblin publishes his first book, "Machine Tools: Specification, Purchase and Installation" through McGraw Hill. The book is designed for engineering professionals, as well as an advanced textbook...Graves Gin of Rector receives a Silver Safety Award during a ceremony held in Memphis. The Kennett location of Graves Gin receives a Gold Award at the ceremony.

April

PHS volleyball players Taylor Davis and Kacey Crossfield are named to the Queens of the Hardwood All-Star volleyball game...The 40th annual PHS FFA farm equipment auction draws large crowds despite rainy conditions...PHS cross country distance runner Lee Austin signs a letter of intent with Williams Baptist College following a successful tenure with the Piggott program...Easter celebrations include a passion play and egg hunt at Emmanuel Baptist Church and an egg hunt and Springfest at Rector First Baptist Church...Area FBLA students excel at state level competitions, earning the right to compete at the national level in June. Piggott's Aaron Meadows, Connor Boyster, Logan Massey and Tyler Peters and Rector's Katie Bowers qualify for the trip to the national competitions...Shawn-Hudson Seegraves is the winner of the Piggott's Proudest Kid essay contest. He and other top finishers Chloe Matthews and Natalie Blake enjoy a lunch with Mayor Gerald Morris and have the opportunity to discuss what makes their town special...PES fifth graders complete the Young Authors program at HPMEC...Rector and Piggott juniors and seniors celebrate at their respective proms. RHS Prom King and Queen are River Rice and Kristen Smart. PHS Prom King and Queen are Austin Murray and Taylor Davis...Piggott State Bank sponsors a show highlighting the artwork of Piggott's Jared Vaughn...RES sixth graders complete the DARE Program...The Bits 'N Pieces Puppet Theatre returns to the Rector Community Center with a special presentation of "Three Billy Goats Gruff." The production is viewed by several classes from area schools and members of the community...Piggott Community Hospital earns the Gold Hospital Quality Excellence Award from the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care...Haven Cagle of RHS signs with the ASU Red Wolves Dancers...Severe thunderstorms result in significant flooding throughout Clay County. The same system created deadly tornadoes in other parts of the state and Oklahoma...Volunteers throughout area communities lend a hand by donating supplies to those who lost their homes and belongings in the devastating storms...Lady Cougar Kendal Gunn and RHS coach Matt Dean are selected to take part in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game on the campus of UCA in June.

More memories of 2014 will be featured in the next edition of the Times-Democrat year in review in both the print and online editions. Happy New Year!

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